We heard there were a few good snorkel spots so we set out to explore them. In calm conditions, Devil’s Hole was about 12 minutes by dinghy from the anchorage off Ile Fugalei. It was a deep pool surrounded by wall of coral. A second site was to the south.

Devil’s Hole is the top right.

Devil’s Hole was not a spectacular coral reef, with mediocre coral and only small fish. Fortunate for us, two magnificent spotted eagle rays appeared and swam around us for a time.

A few days later, we sailed five miles south to Ile Faioa. Facing the anchorage is an inviting long sandy beach. The afternoon sun was dropping but it was low tide so we dinghied over to a coral wall for a drift snorkel.

Snorkel spot was along a wall (red circle)
Purple staghorn coral.

Again, we were very lucky to have a pair of spotted eagle rays gliding along below us. A cloud was overhead, and it was a bit late in the afternoon, so the photos don’t do them justice.

Notice one appeared to have a shorter tail than the other. Was the difference due to age or sex?

Below is a short video put together from clips Monty and I took with our GoPro and Olympus Tough. In the first part, I followed a pair for some time. They turned around and swam between the wall and me! In the second part, a curious ray came pretty close to Monty, spooking him. He has not forgotten the excruciating pain from a sting when he accidentally stepped on at Nananu-I-Cake last year.

Spotted Eagle Rays in Wallis from S/V Whistler on Vimeo.

Southerly waves were going to build so we decided to move to a more protected anchorage. We vowed to return and see more of Faioa.

We returned a few times to both snorkelling sites but never saw the rays again. It was disappointing but made us grateful for the experience we did have.

More to come on Wallis, including a land tour and our search for a kiteboarding spot.